Episode # 438 – Feeding cows & elephants in a temple – An age-old practice in our “Sanatana Dharma”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion on “Teertha Yatras” and “Punya-Kshetras” and how they are important for all of us. In fact, we’ve been witnessing this discussion for a few episodes now and we’ve understood many important points in due course. Yesterday, we witnessed that each and every temple, river, place, etc. has its own significance and spiritual vibrations. In due course, we’ve also answered an important question in this regard – Why at all should we go to a temple to experience Bhagawan’s divine presence, and why can’t we do it sitting at home itself? Of course, we can always do that, as we’re performing our “Nitya-Karma” and other Pujas that we do every day. However, the vibrations that we would experience when we go to a temple are entirely different, and that cannot be equated to what we might experience at our homes. This is because, the presiding deity (The “Sanctum-Sanctorum”) of the temple is highly charged spiritually, with the constant chanting of “Mantras”, Vedas, etc. on a minute-by-minute basis. Moreover, these temples are consecrated by great Aachaaryas and in many cases, Bhagawan Himself in some form or the other! Thus, when a “Vigraha” of a deity is consecrated by an Aachaarya, it gains enormous power from him / her, along with the already existing spiritual vibrations that it might have from within. Hence, this assumes enormous significance, and readers should understand this. 

Apart from this, there are few other points that we’ve to understand – When we go to a temple regularly, it brings in some form of discipline in us. When we circumvent a temple’s deity, it indirectly serves as a physical exercise of walking, and apart from this, it also gives us fresh oxygen for us to breathe, as the “Prahaaras” would be surrounded by various trees and plants. We also have the practice of having something called “Arasa-Maram” in Tamil, which means “The main tree of the temple”. Circumventing this “Arasa-maram” has been an age-old practice followed by our ancestors for hundreds and thousands of years. If we observe, most of the temples would have either a neem tree or a banyan tree as the main “Arasa-Maram”. Inhaling the oxygen generated by neem trees have extraordinary medicinal effects, and indirectly it helps streamlining our breathing and other respiratory related processes. Thus, the purer the oxygen we inhale, our brain gets activated more and more, and this is where our intellect and intelligence increases! Thus, these are the important gains that we obtain physically by visiting all these temples. 

Moreover, when we go to all these ancient temples, we would find “Go-Shalas” (A shed for housing cows), wherein many cows would be housed and fed. Our ancestors have had a regular practice of feeding these cows everyday before they consume food. This gives enormous spiritual benefits. It is widely believed that if we feed a cow, circumvent and worship it, even our deadliest sins get washed away within moments! Moreover, the cow is a holy animal and is one of the most gentle animals ever! The cow is the dearest animal to Bhagawan Krishna and is believed to house all the 33 crore Devatas within its body. Hence, if we worship a cow and circumvent it with devotion, it is equivalent to circumventing the entire world full of Devatas and various deities! If we’re feeding a cow with ardent devotion, it is equivalent to feeding a thousand Brahmin Pandits. If the cow’s breath is felt by our body as we feed it, it gives us enormous amounts of positivity and it calms down our mind and body. The cow’s urine, as we all might be knowing, has enormous medicinal effects, and is one of the main ingredients (“Panchagavya”) in Ayurvedic treatments. More than all these, if we feed cows everyday, it is widely believed that all malefic effects in our horoscope would disappear immediately and we would get relief! Of course, there is a huge science behind all these, and due to lack of time, I’m not going into all these for the moment. We shall discuss these points in detail when the time and context comes. But what we’ve to know here is that, while we say that we’re visiting “Punya-Kshetras”, it is important that we worship the cows as well. Thus, these are the scientific reasons as to why we have the age-old practice of feeding cows and worshipping them. 

Also, in many south-Indian temples we have another age-old practice of having and maintaining an elephant. Feeding an elephant also has enormous amount of significance. All of us might be knowing that the elephant signifies Bhagawan Ganesha and in this Mahabharata context too, we’ve witnessed in our earlier episodes that it was none other than Bhagawan Ganesha who had jotted down all whatever Sage Vyaasa had to say! So, whatever slokas and narratives that we’re explaining today, are all written by Bhagawan Ganesha, and isn’t our duty to pay our due respects to Him as well? Thus, from the next time when we visit a temple, we should make sure that we feed the cows and elephants there and pay our due respects to them. 

So for today, let us understand up to this point and in the next episode, we shall continue this discussion even further to witness a few more important points! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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