Some animals play vital role in the sustainability of of the human kind. Either they will help directly or indirectly. They are barred from killing by ancient scriptures. Here, I want to explain why some animals are barred from killing and the stories intertwined with it.
These are the following animals barred from killing : Cow,
Cow is the most important animal for the development of the Agriculture from the ancient days. We can’t assume the agricultural development without the cow. It is the major source of food by providing milk and milk products. Its products are rich source of oxygen. Cow dung and urine has been used as fertilisers and medicine. The ox , male sibling of cow was used for the ploughing and transportation. A strong ox is left in the village as property of village for better breeding of the animal. It is like a present sperm Bank concept.
Vedas have give top priority to Cow. Cow is termed as Aghanya, which is not to be killed. Many other terms such as daughter, son – in-law are also formed on the basis of cow. In view of the above importance and dependence on the cow, cow was not allowed to be harmed. Gohatya was considered one among the pancha maha pathakas.
Cat is a domesticated animal. The major source of food of cat is rats. In absence of Cats, the population of rats increases and would threaten the food security of the human race at house level. In my childhood, our elders taught that if a cat is killed even by an accident, making the Golden cat will not nullify the sin. That is the importance given to the cat in view of the food security.
Snake is a poisonous animal, though not all of them. The Hindhu puranas have given utmost importance to the snake. The Lord Shiva wear the snake in his throat. The Lord Vishnu stays on a snake Vasuki. Ksheera sagara madhanam was done using a snake and a mountain. Hindhuism gives pious status to the snake. Hindhus celebrate the Nagula Chavithi and Nagula panchami. The snake assures the control of Rats at fields level. In absence of Snakes, Rats will eat away the food grains in the farm. Hence, killing of Snakes were barred, except in unavoidable circumstances.
In my childhood days, farmers use to hold a stick in their hand. Small bells were tied to the stick. On moving they use to dash the earth with the stick. In case of any snake, it recognise the vibrations and evacuate from the way. Thus, killing of Snakes and snake bites were avoided.
Lizard is also prayed in south India. Touching the lizard is barred. Not only that any touch by lizard to human is also considered as sin. It was believed that people who touched by lizard has to Kanchi and offer prayers. Main source of the food of lizards are small insects. In absence of the lizards, the insects increases and causes many problems. Hence, our ancestors prevented us from touching the lizards.
The squirrel is an excellent environment friendly animal. It eats the fruits and stores the seeds in the ground, duly making pits. Most of the times squirrel forgets. The forgotten seeds will germinate in the rainy season. Thus, the squirrel contribute to the environment. As the matters stood, the squirrel is related to Lord Rama. The squirrel has helped Rama by offering the small stones, while constructing the massive bridge from India to Srilanka.Squirrel had got admiration from Rama.
Another story was also related to lord Rama. It is believed that Squirrel has got the assurance of safety from Lord Rama. one day Lord Rama observed the squirrel wounded. Rama enquired why didn’t you tell me that someone wounded you. Squirrel replied that if someone hurts me , i complaint to my Lord Rama.If my Rama hurted without noticing,to whom i have to complaint.
Similarly, tiger and some more animals got pious status. The ultimate objective of Indian scriptures were to protect environmental balance and ensure safety of human race, though in a superstitious way. In the times of huge illiteracy, it would have a inevitability.
The story does not end here. In the recent past, there is imbalances in Various food chains. Lack of frogs and dragon fly resulted to the increase in the mosquitoes. In 2001 our country had permitted the export of frogs. People massively caught the frogs. Frogs , which used to eat away the larvae of mosquitoes, decreased and resulted to increase of mosquitoes. As a result of decrease in the greenary, especially the grass, has decreased the insects and it resulted to decrease in the number of dragon flies. The dragon fly use to eat the mosquitoes. On decrement in the number of dragon flies has resulted to increased number of mosquitoes.
It is pertinent to mention that the annual expenditure on the mosquitoes control measures and treatment of mosquitoes borne diseases is thousands of crores of Rupees. I am not mentioning the other ramifications of loss of man days and deaths and other information. In this regard , it is necessary to protect the frogs and dragon flies. While travelling, don’t kill the frogs.Ask your children not catch or harm the dragon flies. Now the mosquitoes are in the stage of endangering the human race by causing the Dengue, chicken gunya, brain fever and malaria. It is estimated by the scientists that mosquitoes can cause AIDS like diseases by modifying gene structure.
In olden days, it was necessary to make the useful animals as vehicle of God.But, it may not be necessary at this stage of modern age to make them vehicles of God to protect above beings to save human race.
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