November 13: Gai Puja, also known as Cow Puja, was observed across the country on Monday as part of the five-day-long Tihar festival celebrated by Hindus. This ritual holds significance in Hindu traditions, where the cow is revered and worshipped as a symbol of motherly love.
The religious belief behind Gai Puja centers on the idea that cows provide unconditional love, similar to that of a mother. The ceremony involves garlanding the cow and offering it various delicacies. This practice has roots in ancient Vedic times, with cows considered sacred and often referred to as cow mothers due to the nutritious milk they provide, likened to that of human mothers.
Interestingly, modern science supports the importance of cows, highlighting that the energy of local cow breeds is derived from the sun and moon, providing strength to humans through milk.
While some regions traditionally worship cows on Kartik Krishna Aunsi, there is a classical belief that the worship should occur at the end of Aunsi and the beginning of Pratipada, according to Prof Dr Ram Chandra Gautam, a member of the Nepal Calendar Determination Committee.
Additionally, a religious belief suggests that tying the Rakshabandhan (a protective thread) from the right hand to the cow's tail during the cow worship ritual can help the soul cross the river Vaitarani and reach heaven after death.
This reflects the deep cultural and spiritual significance attributed to the ritual of Gai Puja during the Tihar festival. (RSS)