The cow was accorded top priority in Jain sect and in fact, the cow was the symbol of the first Jain Teerthankar Adinathji Maharaj.
In the life of a Jain saint the cow bore immense respect and significance.
सभी प्राणियों के दर्द से नफरत है, इसलिए उन्हें मार नहीं चाहिए ! इस ज्ञान का सारतत्व है: किसी भी प्राणी, जीव कि हत्या मत करो --Sutrakritanga (जैन धर्म)
Those who have forsaken the killing of all; those who are helpmates to all; those who are a sanctuary to all; those men are in the way of heaven. ~~~ Hitopadesa
When Jainism flourished, they were active in cow protection. They built huge cowsheds and made cow rearing part of their lifestyle. Cruelty against cows, starving them, overloading, mutilating their body were all prohibited by law.
Mahaveera had ordered his disciples to rear 60,000 cows.
When Ananda became a disciple of Mahaveera, he vowed to run 8 Gokulas. One Vraja/Gokula = 10,000 cows. Ten citizens who owned maximum cows were named “Rajagriha Mahashataka” and “Kashiyachulanipita.” One’s wealth was assessed by the number of cows he possessed.
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