The sacredness of cow in Hinduism has been a topic of debate for some time now. When we look at a civilization, we see the values that define it, not just the dos and don’ts. Reverence towards the cow has been one of the defining values of the Vedic civilization. The cow is sacred to all Hindus, and not only that, is intrinsic to our culture. She is an inseparable part of our culture. The cow is considered sacred in all sects & sub-sects of Hinduism & Sanatana Dharma. She is mentioned as having divine qualities that can purify and liberate someone, in all our sacred scriptures. She is worshiped as mother, because she goes on nurturing unconditionally. Kamdhenu, the holiest cow, is the mother of all animals. In every ritual, anushthaan or puja, some produce from the cow is used.
The pancha gavya are 5 items procured from a cow – cow milk, cow ghee, cow curd, cow dung, and cow urine. All 5 are sacred, and used in multiple combinations in all our rituals – from purification of a space to the purification of a deity. The bhasma used in bhasma snaana as per Kamika Agama, given by Mahadeva, is to be prepared using only cow dung. A detailed process is given for the same. This liberates human beings and purifies the body to experience all aspects of life.
Charaka Samhita gives numerous instances of use of cow products for healing ailments of all types.
In the Upanishads, the disciple Satyakama Jabala is asked by his guru to raise and nurture cows so he can be ready to receive enlightenment, jeevan mukti, itself. It is the company of cows that prepared him for the highest space of living.
Cow slaughter is out of the question for any Hindu.