Pañcagavya

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Pancagavya, PaJcagavya, Paycagavya


Pañeagavya literally means ‘five products derived from a cow’.

The society has been venerating the cow for over three millennia. Working for the good of ‘go-brāhmaṇa,’ the cows and the brāhmaṇas, has been considered as a very pious act. The dharmaśāstras have prescribed several prāyaścittas or expiations for sins. In many of these rites consuming the pañeagavya finds a place, thereby reflecting the great veneration for the cow. The pañcagavya is a preparation from five[1] products derived from a cow.[2]They are:

  1. Milk
  2. Curds
  3. Ghee
  4. Urine
  5. Dung

The proportion in which they are mixed is 8:8:4:2:1. All these are to be taken from a kapilā[3] cow. While preparing it, several mantras from the Ṛgveda[4][5] and other Vedas[6][7] are to be chanted. A part of it, mixed with green darbha[8] is offered into fire with some more Vedic mantras and the remainder is consumed with a special mantra indicating the power of this pañcagavya to burn up all the sins.


References

  1. Five means pañca.
  2. Cow means gavya.
  3. Kapilā means brown.
  4. Ṛgveda 1.91.16
  5. Ṛgveda 4.39.6
  6. Taittiriya Āranyaka 10.1
  7. Vājasaneyī Samhitā 22.1
  8. It is Poa cynosuroides.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore