ANIMALS & THEIR IMPORTANCE FOR HUMANS
Animals are the best of God’s creations for keeping balance in nature: discipline & training of animals for enhancing its usefulness for the humanity.
Amongst all the bounties and creations of our Creator, animals are the most useful of all but for this creation, humans must not have growth and development as has been done presently. These animals not only give fillip to our economy but also give us sense of security when these faithful are with us.
Animals play most important role in human life. The animals like cows, goats, buffaloes etc, provide protein rich diet of milk and its dairy products. Bye-products like wool/fur/hair of animals like sheep, goats, hare etc are used for making woolen cloths which protect us from winter cold, some medicines / drugs are made from the extracts / parts of some animals, non-vegetarians can get meat from some animals and finally at the demise of animals, their hide is used for making shoes or other articles for the use of humans.
Not only this, animals like camels, bulls, elephants etc are employed for carrying loads. Bulls/camels are being used for tilling fields for enhancing agricultural produce. Dung of animals like cows, buffaloes etc is being used as manure for increasing the fertility of fields for he use of humans and other living beings.
It is also a fact that animals contribute hugely in increasing the economic development of a country in variety of ways: like export of finished products (woolen clothes, leather products, meat, dairy products, extracts of some animals for medicines etc) besides meeting internal demands of a country.
The use of some animals like monkeys etc for testing the efficacy of newly made medicines and for research purposes. This may sound unethical, but these medicines cannot be administered directly on humans.
Animals have been useful for maintaining the eco-system besides keeping a balance in the population of rodents and insects which are otherwise dangerous for humans. The animals which are domesticated and kept as pets are of much help to the mankind in many ways than one besides these are very useful for entertainment.
Description of some of the important domesticated animals / pets is given as under:-
Cow is a domesticated animal. It gives us milk with which we make varieties of milk products. In Hindu culture and traditions, cows are held in highest esteem. Its milk which is sattvic in nature is used for drinking and also for making milk products (hot-milk, cold-milk, curds, ghee, varieties of sweets). Its dung is used for manure for fields for enhancing agricultural productivity and also for making dung cakes for fuel purposes in the villages. Cow thus is revered as gau mata or mother because it feeds us and its milk is very useful for us. Even its urine has medicinal value. Bulls are being used as bullocks for tilling fields.
Krishana (also called Balgopal), the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, tended herds of cows and partook cow’s milk and its products. Its mention is there in Rig Vedas. Cows are mentioned as symbols of wealth and compared with river Goddesses. There is a mention of Kamadhenu (mother of cows) in Hindu mythology and also called as the source of prosperity. She is the also called the ‘mother of piety’; as cows in general are venerated in Hinduism.
In Bhagwad Gita Lord Krishna reveals that amongst cows He is manifested as the kamadhuk meaning kamadhenu the original wish fulfilling cows known as the surabhi cows. Just who and what are thesurabhi cows and how the surabhi cows attained such an elevated and exalted position that they are able to represent a portion of the energy of the supreme….
There are two species of elephants; African and Indians, have distinctive features – having a long trunk which is used for breathing, lifting of heavy loads, logs of wood etc. Elephants were used to carry the warriors and their weapons on their back because of its endurance and bulk. Elephants are also trained and disciplined to act in circuses and other shows for entertainment purpose though this practice is now opposed by the animal lovers.
In Hinduism, elephants are held in high esteem because it symbolizes Lord Ganesha.
In the battle of Hydaspes between King Parus and Alexander the Great, the great armies of Paurus consisted of elephants which showed their mettle in the battle field.
Horses have the unique characteristic of carrying loads, used for recreational purses, games (like polo, races, hurdle race etc), for their well developed balance, requisite training is a must for harnessing and channeling their energies when required partly for enhancing their endurance and usefulness in multifarious roles. Even now horses are being used variously.
Horses live a lifespan of 24-30 years. Before the advent of fuel run vehicles, horses proved its mettle their utility both for carrying loads to far flung otherwise inaccessible areas or during bad climates. They are saddled properly for performing its functions both in carrying loads in the far flung inaccessible areas. Generally, horses are of three categories of horses; hot blood (have speed and high endurance), cold bloods (useful for carrying loads) and warm bloods (These are trained to be developed from crosses between cold and hot breeds for riding purposes. There are more than 300 species of horses. There are domesticated horses, wild horses and sea horses.
The chariot of Arjuna with Lord Krishna as a Saarthi had two well-trained horses which had the unique qualities of fight-or-flight response in tune with their masters.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji famed horse which was affectionately called Neela, was trained and disciplined in such a manner that it obeyed and understood each and every requirements of Guru Ji.
The horse of Maharana Pratap Singh, nick-named Chetak, proved its services and bravery in the battlefields. It obeyed its master’s command – lived for him and even died for him finally.
Dog is one of the best friends of man because of its unique qualities of behavior (being faithful to the person who domesticates and keep as pets), sensory traits (for which it is used by police and military) and its physical features. Dog is uniquely attuned to human behavior and its food habits (starch-rich); much related extent to humans dietary habits. Its sensory characteristics are really exclusive to it; that is the reason that it is employed as ‘sniffer dog’ duties. With its special training, it is used in tracking crimes by the police.
There are many species of dogs bull terrier, rajapalyam, poodles, ariege, American white shepherd etc. It is used for hunting, pulling loads (are group of dog breeds which are trained for pulling dog sledge on arctic regions to carry loads or used in areas which are inaccessible), it is extensively used for protection of households and organizations at odd hours.
Amongst dogs too, there is great feeling of love and care. This was evident, many a times, when I witnessed peculiar type of behavior. There are some stray dogs in my neighbourhood, whenever I keep something as a feed for the young one, and if suddenly, the older dog comes, the young one just stops eating. This is, I think, as a love for the older member! Can we find such love and care amongst humans?
Donkey is a domesticated animal. It is a beast of burden. It can track long distances with load to inhospitable terrain like mule. Otherwise a docile animal but sometimes it behaves obstinately, therefore, it has to be trained properly. Also, because it is a passive animal, it should never be exploited but given due consideration as far as its needs for proper diet and should never be unduly burdened.
CAT is a domesticated animal and that is why it is also called as house cats when kept as pets in the houses. There are wild cats too. These provide us company when we are alone. There are about 70 breeds of cats. The main characteristics of cats is; flexible body, quick reflexes, adaptability in catching and killing prey. Nature has provided cats quick hearing power, can see even in darkness, have good sense of smell. Cats are having cat specific body language. It preys on small insects, birds etc. It is domesticated for companionship and removing the loneliness of some people.
The above are some of the animals but there are many others land based animals like lions, tigers, hares/rabbits, monkies, hyenas, deers, etc which are equally or even more useful for establishing equilibrium in the eco-system besides performing other valuable balancing acts. Some are kept as pets, others live under the forest cover for their sustenance.