India is known as one of the spiritual heartlands of the world, thanks to its various traditions and religions, all having multiple things in common such as non-violence towards people and animals.
While Hinduism is known for its non-carnivorous diet, do they drink milk?
Yes, Hindus do drink milk. Many Hindus follow a vegetarian diet, which allows them to have dairy products in their diet. Hindus see milk as a sacred drink and use it and various milk products, such as ghee, in various religious acts.
Milk is even used for bathing various idols of Hindu gods on special occasions.
This article will discuss whether or not members of the Hindu faith are allowed to drink milk and use milk products. So keep reading! We have everything you need to know about Hindus and their use of milk.
Can Hindus Use And Drink Milk?
India is known for being a very religious and spiritual country, and the largest of the religions there is Hinduism.
A large portion of Hindus follow a vegetarian diet, where they place a significant emphasis on dairy products.
Most Indians will include milk as a staple in their diet, drinking it with tea and chai, turning it into yogurt and ghee or clarified butter, and using it for cooking various dishes.
When traveling through India, you’ll very seldom find a place that does not utilize the milk from a cow in one way or another.
Milk products such as ghee are often spread on various flatbreads and used as a treat for the poor and needy throughout India.
If you are feeling unwell during the summertime, buttermilk is generally a remedy used to soothe the pain.
Milk has been such an important delicacy for thousands of years in India, and this is probably why they now have one of the largest and most respected dairy industries in the world.
The Ritual Aspect Of Milk In Hinduism
The use of milk doesn’t stop on the dietary level for Hindus but goes much deeper into their socio-religious life. Cows in India are revered as one of the highest deities, and some Hindus revere the cow as both their mother and God.
The special significance milk has in Hindu culture usually leads back to various mythological stories, such as that of the Samudra Manthan.
This is a story that speaks about the churning of the ocean, which produced the Amrit, the drink of immortality, and the popular goddess Kamdenu, who, of course, manifested herself as a divine cow.
The Hindus consider all cows roaming throughout India to be the embodiment of the sacred Kamdhenu.
Krishna is one of the major deities worshipped throughout various sects of Hinduism, and as Krisna was a herder of cows in various mythological stories, the worshipers have a special affection for cows.
In numerous stories, Krisna is even referred to as “Makhan Chor,” meaning butter thief.
Hindus believe that the milk produced by cows has purifying qualities, and clarified butter, known as ghee, is used as fuel in lamps when performing rituals.
During similar rituals, the Hindu priests will bathe various idols in milk; and sweets made from milk products are offered to the various gods.
The Indian Dairy Industry
Milk has a strong economy throughout India and helps numerous small dairy operations earn an honest living.
There are some farmers who may have as little as 4-5 cows and will sell the 10 liters it produces each day to make a living.
Various small farmers will sell their milk to local tea shops, which are abundant all around India. If you were to travel to New Delhi during the hours of the morning, you would see an innumerable amount of milkmen from the surrounding towns carrying their cans of milk that they aim to deliver all around the city.
India’s dairy industry became the fair and strong economy that it is today because of various uprisings about prices in the early 1940s.
Amul, a nationwide co-op, was born of a revolt about the low prices offered by distributors, and today they have around three and a half million members.
So, now you know that just about all Hindus, unless they have a milk allergy, will indulge in milk for their teas and have no problem eating various milk products such as their famed ghee.
On top of this, cows are seen as deities in the eyes of Hindus, and the products produced by them are just as holy.