Summary and Analysis of "India's Sacred Cow" by Marvin Harris

Summary and Analysis of "India's Sacred Cow" by Marvin Harris

"India's sacred cow" by Marvin Harris explicates the religious, social, and even practical uses of the cow, strengthening Indians' belief in the sanctity of the domesticated animal. Harris' thesis argues that "[t]he sacredness of the human cow is not just an ignorant belief that stands in the way of progress. Like all concepts of the sacred and profane, this one affects the physical world; it defines the relationships that are important for the maintenance of Indian society." From this main point, this summary and analysis paper looks into the religious ritual of considering the cow as a sacred symbol of Hinduism.
The ...

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human labor alone cannot finish immediately and easily. Apart from its reproductive capabilities to produce oxen, cows are also essential in producing milk and other forms of dairy products. Even cow dung becomes an important energy source. The cow's usability goes beyond its usefulness; maintaining cows require minimum economic expenditure, since they thrive on unconsumed vegetables and foods that humans no longer need.
These practical uses of the cow in India has become an integral part of the society and hence, this is strengthened by imposing in Hinduism that cows are considered sacred symbols of health and life, preventing Hindus from killing and eating them. As Harris explains, the imposition of this religious rule is not implemented for the sake of Hinduism alone. Instead, this ritual is imposed and followed by the people in order to prevent the adverse affects that can result when cows are indiscriminately killed for consumption purposes. These adverse effects ...

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Summary and Analysis of "India's Sacred Cow" by Marvin Harris. (2017, March 7). Retrieved March 19, 2019, from
"Summary and Analysis of "India's Sacred Cow" by Marvin Harris.", 7 Mar. 2017. Web. 19 Mar. 2019. <>
"Summary and Analysis of "India's Sacred Cow" by Marvin Harris." March 7, 2017. Accessed March 19, 2019.
"Summary and Analysis of "India's Sacred Cow" by Marvin Harris." March 7, 2017. Accessed March 19, 2019.
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Added: 3/7/2017 08:34:37 AM
Category: Religion
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 568
Pages: 3

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