12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture - ViralStories
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12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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The beautiful beasts around us are an intrinsic part of our terrain. These lovely creatures though unable to speak, speak a million words when it comes to the delicate balance they maintain in the environment or the diversity and beauty they impart to the world.

In India though, they have a still more special place. They are an indispensable part of Hindu culture…worshipped, respected and cared for.

1. Cow

Cows are considered the holiest of all creatures in Hinduism. The holy cow is considered the mother of all human beings and so her slaughter is also banned throughout India. She is seen as the gift to the mankind from the God. Hindu mythology tells us of two particularly sacred cows Kamdhenu and Surabhi who are said to have emerged from the ocean during Manthan (churning of ocean). Even lord Krishna spent his childhood grazing cattle.

12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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2. Bull

Bulls are also considered to be holy beings. The most mention worthy of them is lord Shiva’s faithful gana (follower) and companion cum vehicle, Nandi. We always find its idol accompanying that of Shivaling in temples. Bulls are worshipped especially on harvest festivals like Sankranti and Onam or Pongal due their large influence on Indian agriculture.

12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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3.Monkey

Though, we do consider them holy but it is a common myth that we worship them. We consider them holy since monkeys in India are considered to be the form of God Hanuman; the Langur species of monkey especially. We have many Hanuman temples in India that are dedicated to these naughty creatures.

12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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4. Mouse

Mice though pesky, have an important place in Hindu culture. They are the vehicles of Lord Ganesha. On the festivals dedicated to the God, we also offer bhog or naivaidhya (food offering) to them. Like that on Ganesha Chaturthi, we set aside modak or laddoo in nooks and corners of our homes for the little creatures to enjoy as well. We even have some temples dedicated exclusively to them.

12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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5. Horse

Horse in Hinduism was not native to India. It is believed to have come from the Rigvedic people. The horse denotes the symbol of strength and leadership. It is the reason why we find its mention in the Ramayana where Lord Rama performs a yagya (Ashvamedha yagya)  where they sacrifice the horse to God for a prospering kingship and progress.  It is also the vehicle of Surya dev (Sun God).

12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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6. Crow

Crows are considered a link to our ancestors who g=have passed away. It is believed that our pitris (ancestors) come in disguise of crows and if we feed them, our ancestors get replenished and they get a way to achies moksha (salvation). This is why during the rituals of pindadaan (funeral rituals) we are required to feed rice balls to the crow first.

12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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7. Elephant

Being the animal of whom our beloved Lord Ganesha bears the head, this gentle creature is his representation and so is worshipped everywhere in India. It is also believed that Lord Indra (the king of all Devtas) rides on a white elephant named Airawat.

12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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8. Dog

In Mahabharata, after the war when the Pandavas go on their journey towards Swarg (paradise), the God of death, Lord Yama disguised himself as a dog and accompanied them to test their wisdom. Even various avatars of Lord Shiva are also associated with the beast. The fierce Bahirava form has a dog companion, the Savapathi form is the lord of the beasts etc.

12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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9. Tiger and Lion

Tiger or Lion serves as the carrier of Goddess Durga. We also find reference of Lord Vishnu taking the avatar of Lord Narsimha (Nar= man, Simha= lion) and slaying the tyrant and cruel king Hiranyakashyapu.

12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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10. Snake

Serpents have a special place in Hindu culture. While lord Shiva wears the King Cobra around his neck as an ornament, Lord Vishnu rests on the bed of Sheshnaag. We even celebrate the festival of Nagpanchmi that is dedicated to all snakes. We consider the creatures holy and refrain from killing them.

12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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11. Peacock

Peacock apart from being the national bird of India, is also considered holy in our scriptures. It is the vehicle of Lord Kartikeya.  Its feathers also make for the decoration of crown of Lord Krishna.

12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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12. Owl

The wise owl is the vehicle of the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. On the night of Diwali, it is also worshipped along with the deity. It is believed it will make the goddess happy and will bless us with prosperity.

12 Animals That Are More Than Just Animals In Indian Culture

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All in all this the bottom line of Hinduism to love and respect all creatures. Each and every being is important to the environment and so even if not for the sake of the religion, we must learn the deeper value dwelling below its layers and learn to respect these beasts as well.


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