Categories of Life
Hinduism is a very ancient religion. As per Hindu beliefs, God created three categories of life in the universe. They are:
1. Deva Ganam --Angelic
2. Manitha Ganam -- Human
3. Bootha Ganam -- Other lower forms
Men have knowledge (6th sense or intellect). Animals have instincts. All of the qualities inherent in other forms of life are fully represented by the Devas. What is the duty of the Devas? The Devas are the administrators of the set Rules on behaviour and resulting repercussions as ordained by God. They make sure that the Dharmic life and conduct is maintained in the universe.
The Devas’ nourishment comes from the oblations we offer in the Holy fire in the Yagnas. Where there is regularity in prayer we will see regularity of seasons, rain, crops etc. Where there is disrespect to nature and indifference toward worship or where Dharmic life is not followed Adharma prevails and the basic necessities for human existance are restricted by the Devas, resulting in rampant drought, famine, disease etc.
You may ask how the offerings in the fire reach the Devas. Only a portion of the offering goes to the Devas. For example, a Mayor’s salary is not determined or directly paid by us as citizens, but we do pay taxes to the government that determines and pays the Mayor’s salary.
Subtle vibrations of the consummated offerings made in the fire, goes to God and a portion goes to the Devas. We have to keep Devas happy in order to get salvation or Moksha. In order to see a government officer or a Minister, we must first make an appointment through the secretaries. A proper dignified approach is a must to the lower officers in order for us to meet their superiors early. Similarly, we have to do Yagnas in a sincere and thorough fashion, following every rule set meticulously.
All the essence of our offerings (rice, ghee etc.) in the Holy fire is taken by the Devas. This pleases them. We have several Homas to invoke the rain God, the wealth God, health God etc. If Lakshmi Homa is performed (for wealth and prosperity) properly with devotion and discipline, the Devas start giving even before the Goddess of wealth decides to bless.
The Devas function on behalf of God. Hence, man has the greatest privilege of offering oblations in the Holy fire, which go towards the sustenance of the Devas. They lay the road or show us the right path to Mukthi. They require us to understand and perform. They act subtly. All the rituals laid out in the Hindu Dharma if followed thoroughly lead us to Mukthi.
Bad thoughts vanish. Good intentions and thoughts manifest in us. Thus whatever we do, we should do it with happiness and faith. The Devas are our Guide. We should seek their blessings.
“With the Devas happiness, Amma also blesses everyone with an abundance of health and happiness”.
What is the significance of Gho (Cow) puja? The cow is a creature just like many others in Creation. Why does it deserve respect and the special treatment?
The reason is: take humans; while all humans have a lot of friends and relatives around to take care of each other, no one’s service can compete with the mother’s service. An uncle might buy his nephew a gift or an auntie might make dessert for her niece or friends might gift the child money. All these types of service are very nice but cannot compare to a mother’s service to her child. A mother’s service is Divine.
If a child is sick, the mother takes care of the child. The mother gives the child medicine and love. Daily, the mother cares, protects and ensures a full life for her child. So even though there are a lot of relatives around, no one can replace the service of the mother. Everyone in the world celebrates Mother’s Day - in recognition of the Mother’s service and of her love.
A mother may provide milk to her child for the first two years (or in America, maybe for the first six months) of the child’s life. This is very special milk as it comes from the mother’s blood. The mother’s blood transforms into milk in order for her to feed her child. She is providing life itself. A father, by contrast, might take care of the child for a few hours a day. If asked to care for the child for a whole day.. ..well, forget it! He would probably run away!
The nature and beauty of women is to be a mother. That is why whole world celebrates, honours and respects the mother. A mother may provide her children with milk for a year or two. Then, from the day she stops through the rest of their lives, it is the cow that provides the milk for them to drink. This is a great service to humanity.
In Hinduism, the cow is sacred and holy. In fact, because of this sacred aspect, angels choose to live in cows. There are hundreds of thousands even millions of angels living in cows.
The purpose of Gho puja is to honour and respect both the cow’s service to the whole world as well as the sacred aspect of the cow. In India, there are milk trucks that have “life line” written on them suggesting that the trucks are acting as the vehicle of life through which a vital ingredient (milk) is supplied to all of humanity.
In Hinduism, people learn and know that holy beings, angels, live in cows and it is easy for them to respect the sacred nature of cows. What about people from other religions? You can see the cow’s service to humanity. So, even if you can’t see the cow as a Divine being, you can respect the service she provides to all of humanity.
Consider this: if a cow gives 10 litres of milk a day to humans, a bigger animal such as an elephant, should provide 100 litres and a horse might provide 20 litres. Does this happen? No. All other creatures in creation only provide enough milk for their own babies. The only being that creates more than enough for her own calf is the cow. Once we understand this gift and the nature of the cow, we can honour this aspect.
While we think that food comes from the farmer who cultivates the land or from the bakery, it doesn’t. In nature, the Divine is in the cow and in the crops. The cow is the only creature to give life to all humans. For this reason there is great respect to this Divine being. Even if you cannot understand that angels live in cows —for this notion may take time to understand; for now, you can see that the cow feeds humans. With love, it will become easier to understand the Divine in the cow.
Amma blesses you all.
Devotee : What about coconut and goat’s milk? Are coconut trees and goats honoured like cows?
Amma : No, coconut milk and goat milk are different. First of all there would not be enough coconut or goat’s milk for everyone. Secondly, they are medicinal and not really meant as staple foods, like the cow’s milk. Also, a person wouldn’t drink coconut milk or goat milk, everyday; you wouldn’t like it the way you like cow’s milk.